Coping With Chaos

Table of Contents

Whether you are an alcoholic, addict, or neither, turbulent times are inevitable in our lives. This is not something we should live in fear of. Still, it is an eventuality that we can prepare for — particularly those of us who are in recovery and may also have mental and emotional health issues to consider. It would serve us all well to take the necessary precautions to limit the damage done by chaotic times. By just a few small actions and a couple of simple reminders, we can help safeguard our recovery and emotional and mental health through life’s storms.

Don’t Give in To Fear

Life has a natural rhythm, just like the ocean’s tides. Often the waves are calm and the sea is low, but eventually, the waves will rock and the tide will rise. But it will also lower and calm again soon enough. Don’t take chaotic times personally. Hard times happen to everyone, not just us. The best thing we can do is take care of ourselves well enough that we are the responsible and reliable person in our community who can help others through the turbulence when trouble comes.

The first thing to keep in mind here is to not give in to fear. We are lucky to have access to the 12-Step program, where we can work through and past our fears in the inventory process. The best tactic is to meet with our sponsor and work the 10th-Step regularly to keep ourselves from being weighed down by fears and troubles. Over time, this will make us solid, reliable people capable of weathering the tough times with dignity and peace, and being that person can make the hard days easier for everyone around us. That’s one of the big payoffs and goals of recovery, isn’t it? To learn how to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and our fellow human beings. This one is pretty simple. Work the 12-Steps regularly and to the best of your ability, and put fear in its rightful place — outside of our hearts and minds.

Keep Yourself Centered

One of the hardest things about chaotic times is how badly they throw us off of our regular routines. Just feeling disoriented can be devastating and have a compounding effect. Think about a time when you go to bed feeling worried and don’t sleep well. The next day is twice as hard because now you’re still worried and you’re tired. So you have too much coffee and scramble through the day unfocused. When you try to go to bed that next night, you’re over-caffeinated, worried about stuff from the day before, and worried about the mistakes you might have made today. It just keeps compounding from there. 

Getting thrown off is one of the more destructive elements of chaotic times — usually more damaging than the chaotic events themselves. Thankfully, it is one we can deal with successfully with some practice. The best way to prevent disorientation in difficult times is to develop healthy routines in peaceful times, then do our best to stick with them no matter what. An ancient proverb says, “Sweat more in peacetime, bleed less in wartime.” It’s nothing that dramatic, but the principle is the same. We can find some healthy, centering habits and practice making them routine when things are good. When a difficulty arises, we can practice keeping up these habits and continue with them when things calm down again. This isn’t a quick fix, but it can be wildly effective. 

Thankfully, the 12-Step program has built-in centering habits for us to practice in all weather, good or bad. We can inculcate the habits of clearing our perspective and removing fear through inventory. We can make prayer and meditation a daily habit. We can keep our meeting schedules. All these practices can be ingrained into our daily lives and practiced in good times or bad. This may seem overly simple, but it can be our best defense against the disorienting nature of turbulent times.

Build a Strong and Stable Foundation

Everyone’s life will have ups and downs. Hard times come and go just like good ones do. But this ebb and flow doesn’t need to take our peace and joy along with it when it changes. We can expend just a little effort to ensure that despite the waves, our sailing remains as smooth as possible. This will be beneficial not only to us, but all the people around us. Being a calming, stable presence when things are anything but calm is a great gift that we can learn to give our loved ones. The procedure is outlined above. We can take small steps every day to strengthen ourselves and keep ourselves centered and clear-minded. 

In recovery, it is possible for us to become the person we have always wanted to be finally. It just takes practice in the right areas. To build good habits that can withstand tough times, we need a strong foundation. Like a house built in tornado territory, we need to prepare for the potential chaos but rest calmly in the work we’ve done to be ready. So we need a strong, stable foundation — for us alcoholics and addicts, with or without mental or emotional health issues, we need the 12-Step program. By making the 12-Steps part of our daily lives, we can experience the calm of living life on a strong and stable foundation.

Alcoholism and addiction are a whirlwind disease. They cause intense chaos and turbulence in the life of the sufferer, as well as those who love them. Thankfully, there is a solution. The 12-Step program can provide the groundwork and produce the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience that spell freedom and recovery from alcoholism and addiction. Whether in or out of recovery, life can be chaotic. Good and bad times happen to everyone now and then. Life is still life. But if you suffer from alcoholism or addiction and wish to experience a joyful, happy, meaningful life in recovery with all its beautiful ups and downs, we can help you. Jaywalker Lodge specializes in helping those who have struggled to recover in the past. Whatever you have tried before, we believe we can make a difference in your recovery. If you are ready and willing, call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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